Controlling Cable Co's Set Top Box w/MCE

Discussion in 'Windows Media Center' started by Michael, Oct 19, 2004.

  1. Michael

    Michael Guest

    Anyone have some insight on how to change channels of a proprietary set top
    box (specifically the Scientific Atlanta Explorer 2100) through MCE.

    It's a HW issue, any suppliers and p/n's would be helpful.
    Michael, Oct 19, 2004
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  2. Michael

    Michael Guest

    I might just amend this to say I have built my own PC, and need some pointers
    to proper IR devices.
    Michael, Oct 19, 2004
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  3. Do you have the MCE remote and the IR blaster that comes with it?
    JDThree [MVP], Oct 20, 2004
  4. Michael

    Michael Guest

    John, the quick answer is no, but I can easily get my hands on one. However,
    that is not the problem. The problem is I have no where to plug the IR
    Blaster into on my PC. I've built my own PC, my (Intel) motherboard does not
    have an IR Blaster port embedded (although I'd love to know a motherboard
    provider that does and MCE supported). If MSFT could provide a USB IR Blaster
    this would solve the problem, or recommend a supported OEM that does would be

    Also, MSFT should remove or correct this headline article from the MSFT MCE
    web zone: In
    particular the section "Add or Configure a Dual IR Control Cable-Capable USB
    IR Receiver" details basically the problem I have -- getting an IR Blaster
    port when you don't have one. The author talks about an USB IR Blaster, but
    gives no specific OEM and p/n. There is also a major error in saying " ... an
    external USB IR receiver that can control two set-top boxes". NO, an "IR
    receiver" cannot control a set top box, you need an IR emitter (Blaster)
    hardwired to the PC as the Master, the set top box is then slaved through the
    IR control path -- the author and article looses a lot of credability with
    that statement.

    As an engineer and consumer I consider the inability of MCE to smoothly get
    proprietary set top box Digital TV into the PC as a major roadblock to
    proliferation of the MCE OS. It's not MSFT's fault, it's obviously the cable
    box guys who don't want to open up their systems. FYI, this is an old
    problem. The set top box guys (e.g. Scientific Atlanta) themselves have a "IR
    Blaster" like product that is used to control VCR's in the days before DVR's.

    Any clarification or corrections would be appreciated.

    Michael, Oct 20, 2004
  5. Michael

    Nigel Barker Guest

    An IR receiver that plugs into the USB port is exactly what Microsoft do provide
    with the MCE remote control & little bugs for controlling the set top box.
    I think you are misunderstanding something here. The IR receiver plugs into the
    USB port. A little bug on the end of a wire sticks over the IR receiver on the
    STB while the other end plugs into the IR receiver on the MCE machine. There can
    be up to two IR bugs with MCE 2005. One for each STB & doesn't interfere with
    the other. This of course is required for two STB as an IR Blaster normally
    floods the whole room. Literally blasts IR:)
    Nigel Barker, Oct 20, 2004

  6. Yep, as the other responder said, you're looking at it from too technical a
    standpoint. :)

    The IR emitter / receiver is all part of the $30 remote kit you can get. The
    emitters plug into the receiver and have long lengths to reach the set top
    boxes they'll control. The receiver itself is USB and connects to the
    computer that way.

    That's it, and you should be good to go.
    JDThree [MVP], Oct 20, 2004
  7. The IR blaster plugs into the remote control receiver, which plugs into your
    PC's USB port. If you don't have the remote control receiver, then you can't
    plug in an IR blaster. If you buy a remote (from any number of places), you
    get the remote, receiver and USB cable, and IR blaster and cable.

    Dana Cline - MVP
    Dana Cline - MVP, Oct 20, 2004
  8. Michael

    Michael Guest

    Okay, All, Thanks for the clarification. Best I can see, MSFT does not have a
    spec for the USB IR receiver dongle (or rather, thecomplete MCE remote
    package) -- if there is, what's the URL? It would have been particullarly
    helpful if I could have seen the back of it (which I presume from Nigel's
    comments) has two IR Blaster (emitter output) ports on it. It would also
    have been helpful if the article I took some shots at could have a drawing
    showing the physical connections -- the article is clearly fuzzy if you don't
    have advanced detail knowledge of the USB IR receiver dongle.

    Again, thanks all. Next topic will be how to control a Scientific Atlanta
    DVR through MCE instead of needing two set top boxes.... BTW, because of the
    Cable TV provider's monopoly on proprietary set to boxes this whole topic is
    an old one. If you want to see how Scientific Atlanta solved the Set Top Box
    controlling VCR's prior to DVR's see this link: It's a 1pg pdf showing
    their "IR Blaster" (MSFT would be helpful if they had such a document for
    their MCE remote package). The problem has now morphed to the PC trying to
    control the DVR ..... I think I'd switch to Satellite TV if I could, but my
    building may take issue with a dish hanging off the side of my building 20
    floors up here in NYC :)
    Michael, Oct 20, 2004
  9. Best I can do is this:

    has three views, one which shows the unit.

    what you can't see on the back of it is the two 1/8" female plugs where the
    ir goes.

    This is a little different than the one that came with 2004. The one with
    2004 had a normal USB cable that you could use any USB cable for (it came
    with a LONG one, like this one does, but the old one was removable - the new
    one it's integrated and can't be replaced or swapped for a shorter one). the
    old one also had 4 plugs in back for blasters - though it couldn't do four...

    Hope this helps a bit.
    JDThree [MVP], Oct 20, 2004
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